ODE to the Journey of ODE

Just over three weeks ago we hit the road. We took lessons from our final days in college to create ODE, our platform to connect to new experiences and intentionally channel our creativity. We were (somewhat) confident in this new adventure being fresh graduates, but quickly we realized this was a very multidimensional situation we were tackling. Trying to find campsites in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, checking off bucket list destinations, keeping in touch with friends and family at home, sitting with the emotions of graduating, and spending 24/7 together crammed into a Mitsubishi all while developing a movement from the ground? Yeah, maybe we bit off more than we could chew at first.

In our own ways we both got lost, metaphorically and literally along the journey out west. Wrong turns took us to beautiful sunsets and others brought us to tears. Honestly, we were both lost before we even left for this trip. 

We were faced with many decisions at the end of college:

  • Katie: For me I struggled with my sense of place. Chicago was my childhood home and Cleveland was my spot for growth in college, but now where should I go? In the past two years I did a 180 in my train of thought. I always thought I would go to college, move back home, get a nice marketing job in Chicago, meet someone and settle down eventually. That was the picture painted for me, not one I created. Mentors and friends challenged me to be the author of my own story, the painter of my own life mural. At the end of college, I felt like I had two options – to use my degree and skills to get me a comfortable job or to channel my entrepreneurial spirit and shoot my shot with my dream company and ride out my passion projects. This trip was my opportunity to answer these questions. Perhaps one of our pitstops could be my new home? Maybe this whole ODE thing could catch the attention of my next boss? Maybe one of my passion projects could turn into something and it could be my next gig? Turns out I had more to learn about myself and other questions I needed to answer before I could possibly try tackling these ones.

  • Kahrin: For me, I suppress things a lot more than I realize. Nearing the ending of college, I watched all my friends wiping tears from their eyes and embracing over the the deep pain of leaving each other in the coming weeks. I took a look at myself and saw no tears falling. All I felt was pure joy in watching all my best friends follow their hearts across the globe. So naturally, I was under the impression that I was totally ready and cool with graduating. Next thing I know, I had derailed my whole life without understanding why. I quit my wonderful and comfortable job, ended my relationship with the person I love, and bought a bike to cycle down the east coast with people I didn’t know and having zero experience. I was lost in the sauce and could not find my way back to Kahrin for the life of me. Turns out leaving the life of being a student where my responsibilities were spelled out for me and entering a life of my complete design was a lot scarier than I anticipated.

We have both realized through talking with peers that we are not alone in feeling lost navigating this transition, and as our parents and mentors reassured us, that is totally normal. In fact, these questions and uncertainties linger longer than the few months post-graduation.

So, when we started ODE we reflected what we stand for through our manifesto:

People, places, and moments there is a story within them all with the power to transform the way we live. Right now, in the present moment we are called to pause, recognize and celebrate not only the once and a lifetime but the mundane. Under every rock and around every corner it waits – a story, a lesson, a gratitude, an ODE.

However, we latched on to that last part - gratitude. Now, three weeks in, we realize ODE is much bigger than adopting a grateful mindset. 

ODE is a call to truly feel the aliveness of the present moment. 

Life changes fast; this we have experienced full force through graduating and while on this road trip. That is why we are inviting people to pause with us, and slow down to be present in the moment. Then we invite people to recognize what is it that makes you feel most alive right now? Where are you energized? With whom are you energized? And lastly, celebrate what sparks this sense of life in you! Live it, be it and do whatever it is.

With that in mind, we invite you to ODE via:

  • ODE cards - a place for you to jot down what energizes you.

  • ODE Instagram and Facebook - a place for inspiration where we will share your ODE cards and tidbits of wisdom we catch along the way because aliveness is infectious and should be shared

  • ODE Stories - a new tab on our website where we will be sharing our reflections of what energizes us along our personal journeys in hopes to inspire you in your own.

Join us on the journey from living to alive,

Katie and Kahrin